S4E11. Burn Ladders & Build Relationships with Dr. Alan Patterson

Have you been successful in climbing the corporate ladder? What have you sacrificed during your ascension?

Dr. Alan Patterson has more than three decades of international consulting experience in change management, leadership development, and executive coaching. In 2006 he formed Mentoré, a consulting practice that focuses on aligning strategy, organizational structure, job responsibilities, and skillsets to major business shifts. His expertise has been tapped by many global and national businesses and organizations, including Anheuser-Busch, BioGen, Federal Reserve Bank, Johnson & Johnson, Hewlett-Packard, and the US Navy.

Three years ago, Dr. Alan learned more about how he could take his work for live workshops and webinars online for general distribution. During that journey, someone asked, “When you think about telling your story, who’s the enemy?” His spontaneous response was that the enemy was the corporate ladder. It’s an illusion, a mirage. It’s something people strive for that doesn’t exist. The steps required to try and climb the ladder inevitably lead to not feeling like you’re good enough.

When you start at the beginning of your career, promotions are pretty by-the-numbers. You achieve more of your objectives year after year, and it’s more or less guaranteed. But eventually, as the hierarchy narrows, you reach a point where people are getting promoted ahead of you, which leads to wondering what you didn’t do that’s causing you to be left behind. There are so many other alternatives to climbing the ladder, and believing that it’s the one path to personal satisfaction is a complete myth.

The alternative path is what Alan calls “burning the ladder.” It’s not about putting yourself at the center of the universe, accumulating accomplishments, and putting them together as a package to sell yourself. It’s about putting others in the center of your universe, helping them be successful, and watching the opportunities come to you.

Contrary to what you think and have had reinforced for most of your life, it’s not all about you. When you live and work in service of others good things can happen.

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